Recently, a jury in Oklahoma City ordered insurance giant Aetna to pay $25 million to the family of Orrana Cunningham, an Aetna customer who died of cancer after the company refused to cover radiation therapy. “The jury ruled that Aetna recklessly disregarded its duty to deal fairly and in good faith with Cunningham,” according to a Nov. 10 article by the Associated Press.
Every child deserves the best possible start in life, and the statistics show that specialist neonatologists practicing at high-volume NICUs are in the best position to provide it. Just because smaller community hospitals that have invested in state-of-the-art equipment can, technically, deliver preemies, doesn’t mean they should.
The unforeseen casualty in this story is the pediatric department at MedStar Franklin Square Hospital. On April 3rd, 2018, MedStar abruptly announced all pediatric inpatient care and emergency services were closing, effective April 6th, and all pediatric staff, including eight physicians, were terminated. Sadly, Baltimore County is home to some of the nations’ most vulnerable families, struggling with high rates of drug addiction, domestic violence, and poverty.
While the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) argues MOC participation makes for better doctors, no credible proof supports this assertion; only initial board certification has been scientifically validated. Seven states already eliminated MOC compliance to maintain licensure, physician hospital employment, or insurance contracting, however this same freedom must be extended to the other 43.
When asked about this, the Public Affairs Manager, Cassandra Hockenson, at the Medical Board of California responded“there is not a huge difference between plastic surgery and dermatology.” She suggested contacting the Physicians’ Assistant Board for the State of California instead. She kept repeating that the supervising plastic surgeon had no complaints against him. I learned two important lessons from contacting the Medical Board of California: 1) Without complaints, a physician can supervise midlevel providers in any specialty they choose, and 2) while required by law to supervise mid-level providers, the safety of patients is not a high priority for the Medical Board of California.